Miller's Homemade Soap Pages:

All-Vegetable Soaps Page

*APOLOGY* ... to those of you who have emailed me this year (2012) and have never heard a peep out of me... I'm sorry. I don't have as much time for personal email responses as I once did and added to that have been a couple of trips, a surgery, garden catch-up, church responsibilities, soapmaking and orders and more visits from children and grandchildren who have moved nearby. I just can't keep up. If your email involved troubleshooting of a recipe or a lengthy response, it was probably put aside for when there was more time and then fell through the cracks because "more time" didn't happen. :-/ I don't see that changing through the end of 2012. I hope you understand and know I would love to be able to acknowledge every email I get. 


[All-Vegetable Soaps]
Soaps from center front (white) moving clockwise: Stress Relief, Pumpkin Spice, Almond Joy, Orange-Eucalyptus (in front of soap balls), Fresh Peach, more Stress Relief (molded), and Rose Garden.

All-Vegetable Soaps and Recipes

In response to the most frequently asked question! This banner was generously and humorously contributed by Chris McClusky! :-) For a more detailed explanation, browse through the questions on the "Soapy Success" pages.

Since I've been browsing other people's websites about soapmaking, I realize that it currently doesn't seem to be politically correct to make soap using animal fat, which is how I made it for years using the lye company's instructions. Since reading more about all-vegetable and finding sources for hard vegetable fats, I've had a lot of fun experimenting with different all-vegetable combinations. I'm not impassioned on the subject, however, and provide information for both camps. I love animals...but I do eat meat (not my favorite, but I eat it) and use animal products. I can appreciate that there are those who choose to refrain from such.

From a neutral perspective, there are pros and cons to either type of soap. One of the pros to making soap with animal fats is that it is much cheaper, if you can find a reasonable source of fat for rendering. Even if you buy your materials at wholesale, I suspect that it will cost more to make all vegetable soap, so that should be a consideration if you are making your own soap to economize. Soaps made with a combination of lard and tallow tend to be harder also, which I like. When making soaps from animal fats, I have usually preferred to have a mixture of about half and half and at the very least, one pound of beef tallow to 5 lbs. of lard for hardness. All lard soap is a bit soft and can sometimes be kind of tacky to the touch. All tallow soap is a bit too hard for my tastes and can sometimes be brittle.

If you just want homemade soap for its mildness and don't mind the cost, there are things to recommend all vegetable. It doesn't tend to have as much odor after curing (although my sensitive sniffer can always detect the olive oil in castile soap if the light oil is not used), you don't have the mess and smell of rendering (my kids complain when I'm doing that!) and it won't gross out your friends that there's animal fat in the soap if they find that to be a problem. As of the fall of 1998, I've been experimenting with all-vegetable and since discovering the stick blender, I may not go back to the other! (Especially since I have to buy animal fats and don't have them for free any longer.)

Homemade Soaps for Sale
Click Here for Details...
[Sage, Sweetgrass & Cedar Soap]
[Cool Water Soap]
[Candy Cane Soap]
[Oatmeal Soap]



NOTE (September 2005): After receiving a couple of emails, I've finally come to believe that it's true... the company that markets Lewis Red Devil Lye has pulled it from the market and has replaced it with a liquid drain opener that contains no lye. My suspicions are that it's due to its use in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamines. This is very sad for the home soaper! :-( I've been buying my lye in bulk for quite awhile now, but for the average person that wants to make one or two batches and has gotten accustomed to buying it locally... this will need to be addressed. Here is a helpful link sent by Nancy M., whose email comment is underneath:

When I bought the two remaining containers from the local Albertsons, I was told it's popular in this community in the production of meth. When I mentioned it to a clerk at the JoAnn's fabric store, where I was fruitlessly trying to find any kind of other soapmaking stuff, I found out she's a soapmaker and that she got her lye at the local Grocery Outlet, in bulk. They don't have it out where anybody can see it, but if you ask and show ID, you can buy it.
Anyway, I'm having fun, that's the point and thanks again for all of your help :-)
Nancy M.
from the dry side, Clarkston, Washington

[No more lye!]

Graphic courtesy of from
Soapmaking article by David Fisher

Contents of this page:

RECIPES: (* mark my favorites or simpler recipes... 3*s = the BEST!)

All recipes will yield about 7 pounds of soap, or 28 4-oz. bars, after cure.

All recipes are based on WEIGHTS, not volume. You will need to weigh oils and lye with a good scale. Water can be measured with a liquid measuring cup with no problems.

Shortening Recipes:

No Palm Oil:

Modern Soapmaking Procedures/Stick Blending



 Recipes Using Palm Oil:

Recipes Using Palm Kernel Oil:

Other Links:

Special Utensils? - I've read in so many places that you should have special pans and tools for making soap that I just had to put in my two-cents worth here! I have never set aside my kettles, bowls, pitchers or stainless steel utensils only for would seem silly to me. A wooden spoon is a different case. Wood is absorbent and you could never wash out all the junk in the wood after using it on soap (kind of makes you wonder how sanitary it is for other things as well!). If you are stirring with a wooden spoon, then by all means label it for soap and use it for nothing else. I use my regular beaters for soap, and everything else is used for other cooking purposes as well. Lye is not going to absorb into your stainless steel, plastic and glass containers (if it was that tricky, it would absorb its way right through the plastic container you buy it in)! Just wipe them out well (if there's raw soap in or on them... toss that into the trash to save your pipes from the grease) and wash with hot soapy water and rinse with hot water...just like you would any other dish. That's it. I don't know why we carry our respect for lye into paranoia, but I suspect we run a greater risk from eating off dishes that come out of our dishwasher, than to use our soapmaking utensils for cooking purposes! Enough said!

Here's some feedback on wooden utensils I received after posting this:

Subject: About wooden spoons
Date: 12/22 10:59 AM

You mention on your soap making page you wonder about the sanitary properties of wooden utensils in everyday cooking. You may be surprised to learn that it is better than metal or plastic!

They did a study where they measured the bacteria counts on the surface of a butcher block table and the surface of a stainless steel table. They cleaned them identically, took measurements, then waited several hours and measured again. Almost all the bacteria on the butcher block table were dead. The amount of bacteria on the steel surface had multiplied many times.

They determined that due to the inherent antibacterial properties of wood, it actually kills bacteria instead of allowing them to live in the pores as common sense would dictate.

Thought you might like to know that perspective.

David P. Ihnen
Systems Administrator
OIBU Lab Support
Cisco Systems, Inc.

Knowing what lye can do to wood over time, I would still be quite reluctant to use my soapmaking spoon for cooking...blah! But, this was very interesting! Thanks! Of course, I don't know that any self-respecting bacteria would survive contact with lye for very long. My stainless steel pan that I use for dissolving the lye solution is the cleanest pan I have in the house! :-)

An Update (Very Interesting... I find this easier to believe!):

Subject: Wooden utensils
Date: 08/21 10:55 PM

I just wanted to let you know, for the sake of correctness, about the situation regarding wooden surfaces vs. plastic or steel. I read the post that you had on your website about the experiment where it was shown that bacteria multiplies better and faster on steel than wood. (I know that it wasn't your post, but it was on your page) I've been working in the food industry for about eleven years now, and I was intrigued when I heard about this study. Unfortunately, I learned very soon after that when some other researchers tried to duplicate the experiment, they got the opposite results. In fact, no one has ever gotten the results that the first researcher claimed to have gotten. Problem is, the new discovery gets front page, because it's fascinating, but the failure of the new discovery gets put somewhere in the middle of the paper. I don't think that anyone ever stopped cleaning their counters just because they were made of wood, but you never know. Best to have the facts.

Yours truly, P.J. Buchan

The following recipes list ingredients but few procedures. If you need BASIC SOAPMAKING INSTRUCTIONS, you will find those on the main soapmaking page. To read more modern instructions (how I do it now) go to the Modern Soapmaking Procedures page.


***All recipes will YIELD about 7 pounds of soap, or 28 4-oz. bars, after cure.***

My First All-Vegetable Attempt with Instructions:

This was my first batch of all vegetable soap (Spring of '98). The ingredients used were as follows:

All Vegetable Soap

Do you need METRIC measures? Check out this conversion tool at Majestic Mountain Sage: Majestic Mountain Sage: Measurement Conversion Calculator. You type in the measurements, hit the button and it will convert them for you.

These next two online calculators are thanks to Anna Merhoff!:
28 ounces of coconut oil (2 jars)
24 ounces of olive oil (the cheapest and lightest in color)
30 ounces of vegetable shortening (the cheapest, and purest you can find)
12 ounces of lye (one standard can of Lewis Red Devil)
32 oz. cold water (4 cups)
1.5 - 4 ounces essential and/or fragrance oil depending on strength and your nose, if soap is not intended for remelting
*ASH - It has been suggested that using some beeswax in the recipe in place of some of the fat will prevent ash, which sometimes forms on surfaces exposed to air while the soap is setting. Many batches will not have the problem. If you would like to do it, I suggest substituting 4 ounces of beeswax for 2 ounces of the fat.

Some people prevent ash on their soap by putting Saran wrap on TOP of the soap after it is poured. You can release air bubbles by gently poking it with a needle. After the soap sets for 24 hours, the plastic will peel off easily. If you use some sort of plastic other than food grade, you could have a problem with your soap becoming discolored after unmolding. Something else that works well on top of the soap, is a thin piece of mylar plastic (used by quilters to make pattern at a fabric store).

A third suggestion I recently read about on a soaplist was to put your freshly poured soap mold into the oven with a pan of water and the light left on (NO heat...only the light). Be sure to put a sign on the door so that no one (including yourself) turns it on! The water provides humidity while the light provides gentle heat. No need for blankets and such this way.

Follow the usual soapmaking instructions, although the temperatures of each solution before blending should be around 95º to 110º (lye solution the cooler of the two). I mixed them together with a hand held mixer for about 20 minutes and after that, just stirred it every few minutes until it "traced" (which took between one and one and a half hours). At that time, I poured it into a cat litter pan (never used) which was lined with a sheet of plastic wrap, long enough to hang over two sides. This helps you turn out the soap and keeps it from sticking on the center bottom (which is where it always tends to stick if it's going to do that). This was placed into a cardboard box, and put a warm blanket over the whole thing. It was turned out and cut in about 24 hours plus. If you don't have a cardboard box large enough, set your pan on a towel and then put a large piece of cardboard over the top, then cover it with more towels or a blanket, out of drafts.

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I tried rebatching the soap, following the instructions from Pamela Love, of Soap Crafters Company, and what was supposed to look like "runny marshmallow creme" after melting and mixing looked more like a stiff gummy batch of mashed potatoes. (I melted it using the crockpot and also tried it in a slow oven.) Soap is like that and I'm not going to blame her. Instead of messing around with crushing that stuff into molds (I tried a few), I poured the little batches into small bread pans which had been lined with a piece of plastic wrap and will cut them into bars after they've dried out for a couple of days. She had a few recipes on her page but I combined some different essential oils with herb teas and ground spices in combinations that sounded appealing to me. You can experiment all you like...just write them down so that you can recreate something if it turns out really good. Her rule of thumb for each one pound of remelted soap was to add one cup of milk (I assume this is to give the soap that "antique" color...water worked fine also), 1/2 tsp. of essential oil and about 1 T. of dry herb (if you like). You can get more instructions by linking to her website and also find some wonderful suggestions from other "soapers" on the Rebatching, Remelting, Remilling, etc. page.

Personally, I avoid rebatching like the plague (only when a batch is totally separated) but if you must, here's one of the great suggestions you will find on the Rebatching Page...

"I am so excited!!! I have found the way to rebatch! I've been doing this soap thing for about 2 months. I have found the perfect way to rebatch (determined!!) I found these boiling bags at the local Walmart Store for melting candle wax. (I suspect you could also use those baking bags you can buy at the grocery for doing turkey and poultry.) I grate my basic soap and fill the bag. I add any liquid (you don't need a lot ... just depends on how dry the soap is) like a small amount of water, extra glycerin, oils, aloe vera gel, etc., really just enough to moisten the soap, and put a twist tie on the top. Drop the bag in to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Check periodically ( I pick the bag up and squeeze it with pot holders to mix) until it is all melted (it gets quite liquidy). I then open the bag and add color & fragrance(?) etc... I squeeze with pot holders to mix and sometimes put back into the boiling water to keep it melted. I snip the bottom corner out of the bag and squeeze into molds. It sets up very quickly if it is too cool but shrinks very little. I put the molds in my freezer overnight (I'm usually doing this stuff at 8:00 or 9:00 pm) and the next morning I pop them out of the molds. It is working wonderfully and hope this helps any other frustrated rebatchers out there!" -Carol Justice,

Here's another interesting suggestion from a soap list...just be careful and not cook for too long or you'll have a soap monster in your microwave! :-)

"In a mad-dash to rebatch some soap to give as a present, I used the microwave to rebatch. I took my grated soap and put in a plastic pot, added my milk and zapped it for two minutes at a time. Stirred and zapped again. In 5 minutes I had the soap ready for the mold. I measured 24 ounces to rebatch. It was great!!!" -Janice, Faery Hill Gardens

This was the recrafted or rebatched all-vegetable soap I tried the first time. The dark one is cinnamon with ground nutmeg and cinnamon and clove oils added. Continuing, clockwise, are Mandarin Orange Spice tea with crushed cardamom seeds and lemon oil, lemon with oatmeal and honey, anise oil with Wintermint tea, bitter almond oil with honey. The almost white bars are what the soap looked like before remelting and adding essential oils and spices. The bars are thinner than I'd like, but couldn't find the right pan for the amount of soap I had! Soap balls were made from the scraps after trimming and beveling.

[Recrafted Soaps]


[All-Vegetable Soaps...mostly!]
Clockwise from front left: Almond Joy, Soap Balls, Orange-Eucalyptus Molded (over Oatmeal and Honey), Rose Garden,
Fresh Peach, Citrus Blend, Stress Relief, Orange-Eucalyptus Bars, Pumpkin Spice (in blue box)

More Recipes! Now we're on a roll!

These recipes have been run through the Lye Calculator at the Majestic Mountain Sage site. They allow for approximately 5% extra fat, so if you are going to superfat the soap you may want to cut back slightly on one of the oils in a recipe.

You can put together most any combination of oils you wish and create your own recipes using the saponification chart on the "Design Your Own Recipe" Page. I'm only listing what I did in case you want to copy it or work off these:

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I have never made this soap myself, but periodically get a request for a recipe, so I'm passing on suggestions I've gleaned from others who have made it. If you do this and have problems... I'm probably not the person to ask! :-)

Pine Tar Soap (Notes)

First of all, you can choose any soap recipe and make it into pine tar soap. It's a matter of adding it to the recipe you have chosen... all vegetable or animal fats. From what I've read, I think the easiest method is to add the pine tar to the melting oils at the beginning. You can buy pine tar at a feed store... it is used on horses hooves for conditioning purposes (and be sure to read the label and make sure it is 100% pine tar and not pine rosin). To save on cleanup later... use a disposable spoon to get the tar out of the container (a stout plastic spoon or even a wooden popsicle stick will hopefully do the trick) and drop the spoonfuls into the melting oils. They should break up as the fats melt and warm up and you can incorporate the tar into the fats. I'd be sure they are completely blended in before proceeding with the lye solution, etc. and you will still want to check for correct temps as usual. Pine Tar soap tends to come to trace more quickly than soap without it, so you might do well to go with a higher water addition rate for the recipe rather than the low end suggestions. For recipes on this site... around 32 ounces of water would be good. For a recipe that makes 28 bars like the ones on this page... you will likely want to add about 6 to 7 ounces of pine tar to the pot with the base oils. Scenting is kind of a moot point because the soap will cure out with the scent of pine (less tar with aging ). If you decide to scent along with the natural smell of the pine tar... pick something that will blend well with that or enhance it... and you'll have to move quickly since the soap is going to want to set up quickly and you'll have little time for extra fussing around. Essential oils might be better behaved since you are already going to have soap with a tendency toward accelerated trace. Another comment was that pine tar soap took longer to harden up during cure, but once hard that it was very long lasting.

If for any reason you have some sticking to your bowls or utensils after the mixing process... soaking them for 1 or 2 days in warm water will aid in removing the residual pine tar... but hopefully with the technique above... you'll not have that problem. If you try these suggestions and it works out well for you (or not)... please email me with feedback and I'll adjust these suggestions accordingly. :-)

I got some feedback from one gal who said that the above warning was not sufficient enough to prepare her for how FAST her soap set up! Here is another recent email that I wanted to post... this fellow is delightful to read and has some good feedback for those who decide to take the plunge. :-)

From: Bill Adams
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005
Subject: Pine tar 20%... don't use a stick blender

Hello again Kathy,

As you see I went for the 20%.....I used the "more is better" theory.... kill you twice as fast..... go for it ..... just do it.......

The soap really did not ever get hard around the edges so........

I did remelt this batch of soap.... if you could call it a batch of soap. I just set the Pyrex dish in the microwave, heated it till it began to froth up around the edges, reset the heat to number 2 (out of ten) and cooked and stirred. It took 30-40 minutes to have a pretty good melt.......all the hardened pieces were broken up. I cooked it another 10 and most of the small pieces were dissolved. I took it out and continued to stir till it was setting up, shaped the edges and quit. Looks like a German chocolate cake....hope no one decides to have a piece before I get the icing on.....

[Just a warning... if you decide to remelt a batch according to what Bill did... you'd better watch it like a hawk. The only thing worse than a soap volcano in your microwave oven, would be one laced with pine tar. I don't even want to think about how long it would take to clean up THAT mess!]

According to Hersh, it doesn't matter how much pine tar you add, it sets up to a point of not being able to pour it in 28 seconds, little tar or a lot of tar. I suppose it would help to use lower temperatures for the fat and lye, add additional water, (which the soap spread sheet does for you when you plug in the pine tar amount) mix with a paint stirring stick. (NO STICK BLENDER. If a stick blender accelerates a normal batch of soap, you can imagine what it does to pine tar. Instant pudding followed by instant brick.) Pour the lye while stirring, and try to get it thoroughly mixed, and poured, before it sets up. (In my case I did not even get it mixed in the container I intended to use as a mold.)

I am going to see what this soap is dog needs a bath.....ha


Bill Adams

More suggestions...

From: Pat Lowe
Date: July 2, 2009
Subject: Note About My Experience with Making Pine Tar Soap


I've made my own pine tar soap for several years now. I use a double-boiler type arrangement to soften my pine tar before adding it to my soap base. One easy way I do this is by using a very old (small) sauce pan that I have dedicated just for this purpose. I place it on my stove top burner, add a cup or two of water in it, then add the small can of pine tar inside the sauce pan. It is VERY important to leave the lid to the pine tar can open so that when it gets hot, it doesn't explode all over my kitchen. It is also important to make sure that the water in the sauce pan does not cover more than the bottom half of the pine tar can, so that when the water boils, it does not boil over into the pine tar. Then, when the pine tar is softened to a more or less liquified state, I carefully lift the can with kitchen tongs and then pour in the amount I desire into my soap base mixture just about the time it is ready to trace. I mix it as thoroughly as possible, trying to get the color evenly distributed, and then pour it into the soap mold I have prepared for use. I've had very good luck with this method and thought I'd share it with you all. If I use less than the entire can of pine tar in my soap batch, then I just let it cool a bit again and press down the top of the can onto the can and use it for my next batch of soap. I love pine tar soap, and the users of my pine tar soap have nothing but praise for it once they use it. It is a lovely old-fashioned soap with many uses, and it is too bad that many people have to be educated on its existence and its uses.

Pat Lowe

P.S. I have never had to soak my soap making utensils for a day or two to get out the pine tar residue. What I do is use stainless steel pots and spoons, and a rubber spatula to scrape the soap out into the mold. When the pots, spoons, and spatulas cool a little bit -- not completely -- but are still slightly warm, I put them in my sink and runn warm-hot water in and over them, let them soak for about 30 minutes, more or less, and then use a dishcloth or throw away sponge and wash them out. It doesn't always 'slide out', but it is not difficult to wash out the pine-tar soap residue, either. Hope my suggestions are of use to your readers and fans of pine-tar soap-making!

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Recipes Using Shortening:

* Designates reliable, simple recipes - any of the scent and color combinations can be used with any recipe.

*Fresh Peach (Base Recipe by Sandy Maine)

24 oz. coconut oil
38 oz. vegetable shortening
24 oz. olive oil (added after melting the above)
4 cups (32 oz.) cold water (I prefer 24 to 28 oz.)
12 ounces lye crystals

Add at trace:

2 oz. Peach Deluxe fragrance oil (Sweet Cakes)
1 tsp. Bitter Almond fragrance oil (Sweet Cakes)
2 tsps. paprika (for peach color)


[Fresh Peach Soap]

Temperatures: 95-100 degrees

This basic recipe was taken from Sandy Maine's Soap Book. I used the stick blender and added the paprika and oils at light trace. The soap oozed a bit of oil or glycerin from the top and I don't know if I added a little too much oil while weighing the ingredients or what. Otherwise, it looks fine. Sure smells great and the paprika gave it the perfect peach color! Hope the peach smell holds after far, so good. I didn't like the texture as well as some of the recipes that was more tacky and flexible when cut after 24 hours. The final product is fine, but my preferences run to smooth, firm and silky from the start.

If I make this again (it did lather nicely) I would bump the shortening back to 36-37 ounces and reduce the water to 24 or 28 ounces.

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Good basic recipe that is easy to measure because you use a standard 3# can of Crisco as a base.

*Rachael's "Tried and True" Recipe (Thanks! to Rachael Levitan)

48 ounces Crisco (a 3-pound can)
21 ounces Soybean Oil (or Olive, Canola, or a blend of these)
18 ounces Coconut Oil
28 ounces of cold water
12 ounces lye crystals

Temperatures: 100 degrees

Trace by hand should be in about 20 minutes. Cure about 24-48 hours before cutting. (I've done this with the stick blender and trace happens in about 1 minute! If you want to mix soap that way, this is probably not the recipe to use...unless you're quick! ...Kathy)

A Nice Variation: Cucumber with Shea Butter (very mild in scent and moisturizing)

Add to base oils:
3 T. shea butter
a few shavings of green wax candle color (maybe about 1 1/2 loose teaspoons)

Add at light trace (mine wanted to seize up...make it very light trace and then work fast!)

3 ounces Econocuke from Sweet Cakes (or some other cucumber fragrance)
[Cucumber Soap]

Don't labels make a difference?

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A couple of people on the Latherings Board raved about this basic combination, so I thought I'd post it for those of you who have trouble finding coconut or palm oil. I haven't tried it yet. Let me know if you try it and like it!

All-Vegetable, No Coconut or Palm

56 ounces olive oil
30 ounces vegetable shortening
9 ounces castor oil
12 ounces lye crystals
28 ounces cold water
2 T. salt dissolved in a small amount of hot water and added to lye solution

The salt was felt to be an important part of this recipe, although I imagine you'd have nice, but softer soap without it. I would keep it in unless you try it that way and don't like it as well as soap without the salt.

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This has real eye appeal for people. Some like the zesty quality added by the bergamot and other essential oils, and others might prefer to leave out the oils and only put in the herbs and spices.

Zesty Calendula

32 ounces soybean oil
32 ounces vegetable shortening (Crisco)
14 ounces olive oil
10 ounces coconut oil
1 ounce of stearic acid (optional)
28 ounces cold water
12 ounces lye crystals
Temperatures were around 110 degrees.

[Zesty Calendula Soap]

Add at trace:
3/4 oz. Citronella EO
1/2 oz. Bergamot EO
1/4 oz. Rosewood EO
1 1/2 tsp. ground Ginger (dry spice)
2 T. freshly ground Coriander Seeds
1 cup Calendula Petals (pulverize a bit in the blender after measuring)
About an ounce of Vit. E. Oil (If you can get it to pour fast enough!)

This was a bit soft when cut, but has firmed up pretty nicely (I originally made it with more can even cut it to 24 ounces and it should be fine and nice and firm after 24 hours). After curing it really smells more like lemon than anything else. I have to give credit for the inpspiration where it's due. A Garden Eastward offers an essential oil blend called Rachael, and I copied some of its ingredients. The real scent blend is probably even better, but I was too cheap to buy it along with everything else I ordered! Maybe next time.

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*Note on Milk Soaps: I haven't mastered soaps with milk and honey in them (about a 50/50 track record!) but have learned a bit more since making the first ones. Milk and honey both can cause overheating in soap. When you make a recipe with milk or honey or both, you should only slightly insulate, or not at all. With a deep mold, I think I would completely pass on insulating. If you are sure the soap is at thick trace when you pour and don't insulate... hopefully, you won't get a separation like the one shown at the top of the "Botched Batches" page! :-)

Had a bit of difficulty with this one and needed to reclaim it in the oven. The potato masher came in handy for breaking up the remelted quite nicely. What a relief! There was an ammonia smell when I put it into the enamel pan for reclaiming but that subsided after the ingredients completely blended. I think the slight ammonia smell comes from the milk in the soap and you might notice a little of that even when your soap works out the first time! It should cure out in a couple of days. The recipe below was a slight variation of Rachael's recipe (above) and her original oil quantities could easily be substituted.

Spiced Milk and Honey Soap

48 ounces shortening (Crisco type - 3# can)
22 ounces coconut oil
16 ounces olive oil
24 oz. cold water
12 oz. lye crystals

Temperatures: around 100 degrees

After incorporating the lye solution with the oils, add:

12 oz. can evaporated milk, warmed (for lighter colored soap with firmer texture, you can use only 6 oz. evaporated milk and increase the water by 2-4 ounces)
1/4 cup honey, dissolved into milk (for a lighter color and less tendency to separate, you can cut this back to 1 T.)
At light trace, mix in:
3/4 oz. cinnamon oil
1/2 oz. clove oil

[Spiced Milk and Honey Soap]

The essential oils will accelerate trace, so be prepared to quickly pour the soap when it starts to thicken. The milk will turn color as you watch after being added. Maybe if it had been cooler, it wouldn't have gotten quite so dark, but the color goes well with the spices. In the future, I will not insulate a batch like this until it begins to cool after going through the "gel" stage. Rachael had a different method for mixing her milk soap (on the Soaps Using Animal Fats page) and you might prefer to do it that way. Other people have used this method and it has worked fine...not sure what I did, but glad to be able to use the soap in the end. It will take longer to cure than some of the other batches, partly because of the extra water added during remelt and because of the milk content. At least, this is what I've read. Probably only a matter of a couple of weeks more.


Subject: Milk Soap Technique
Date: 8/28/2001 5:41 AM

Have been so busy haven't had time to visit my favorite soap page, but returning to it is like a reunion with an old friend! Just a little something to share with you regarding milk soaps...I find that I don't seem to get the discoloration associated with milk soaps with this method and so far it has worked every time. I'm referring to that orange-red discoloration that happens, not the antique color that is usually associated with milk soaps.

This may be an easier technique for novice soapers. You can increase the milk concentration in the recipe this way, also, and I find that it's more economical for me to use the evaporated forms of milk, because that way it is always available and I can just mix what I need instead of trying to figure out what I'm going to do with the leftover fresh or canned milk.

I continue to enjoy your soap page! Thanks, Sarah D.

This is basically the method that I use... I buy the canned evaporated goat's milk at the supermarket. Usually no more than 6 oz. does the trick. You can use cow's milk also... either will work. - Kathy M.


Subject: Awesome milk soap trick
Date: 10/3/2001 8:48 PM

I was playing around in my cupboard today and hit on a great trick for making milk soap. I am interested in nutrition, and keep "Non-instant powdered milk" around to add to my smoothies. About 3/4 c makes a whole quart's worth of milk.

I added .7 ounces to the premeasured water and blended well with the stick blender. Then I added the lye and stirred by hand for a few minutes. I made my usual batch of soap, and it worked great! No overheating, bad smell, or anything! You can get non-instant powdered milk at any health food store. The soap itself was very light in color, the same shade it usually is (scented with lemongrass and sandalwood FO).

Thanks for running such a great site!


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*Note on Milk Soaps: Milk and honey both can cause overheating in soap. When you make a recipe with milk or honey or both, you should only slightly insulate, or not at all. With a deep mold, I think I would completely pass on insulating. If you are sure the soap is at thick trace when you pour and don't insulate... hopefully, you won't get a separation like the one shown at the top of the "Botched Batches" page! :-)

This was posted by Michelle M. on the Latherings Board in January of 1999. She based it on Rachael's recipe that is on the animal fats page. It calls for goat's milk, but you can use cow if that's what you have.

Oatmeal, Milk and Honey

48 ounces shortening (a 3# can)
18 ounces coconut oil
12 ounces soybean oil
10 ounces canola oil (olive can be used as well)
12 ounces lye crystals dissolved into 18 ounces cold water
One 12 oz. can of evaporated goat's milk added at light trace (for lighter colored soap with a firmer texture, you may use 6 oz. evaporated milk and increase the water to 22 oz.)

Temps: 95-100 degrees

Add at trace (Michelle):
2 ounces of A Garden Eastward's "Flower Power" (soaps very cinnamony)
3 T. honey
A sprinkling of cinnamon
Add at trace (Kathy):
2 ounces of Sweet Cakes "Oatmeal, Milk and Honey" FO
1 cup pulverized (blender) oats
1/4 cup honey

Recipes With No Palm Oil:

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This has a nice texture and I made two different versions (below). It lathers much like the castile recipes:

*"Canolive" Soap (Kathy Miller)

40 ounces Canola Oil
36 ounces Olive Oil
12 ounces Coconut Oil
24 ounces cold water
12 ounces lye crystals

Temperatures: between 90-100 degrees





[Easter Egg Colored Soaps!]

Some bright colors here (some not intended)! The soap on the left is the "Canolive" Iris Blend. The center soap was scented with Sweet Rain FO from Sweet Cakes and is the "Favorite Castile w/No Palm" (on the Castile Recipes page). The soap on the right was colored with 1 cube (1/2 cup) of coconut oil sold for corn popping. Less would have given the color I REALLY wanted! (Maybe one pat or two instead of a whole stick!)

Spiced Apple:

Add at trace:
2-4 ounces "Apple Jack and Peel" FO from Sweet Cakes
Since I only had two ounces...I also added:
1 oz. Sour Apple flavoring oil (leftovers!)
1 tsp. Cinnamon oil
1/2 tsp. Clove oil
teeny bit of Citronella oil (more of orange would be better...maybe about 1 T.)
A little green candle dye added to melting oils

Iris Blend

Add at trace:
2 ounces Iris FO from Sweet Cakes
2 tsp. Peru Balsam essential oil
1 tsp. Rosewood essential oil
A small amount of purple candle dye added to melting oils

This is pretty sweet and I wouldn't add any more than might even want to cut back a bit on the Iris FO.

This soap came out very nice and the canola is more reasonable in price than olive. I prefer all-vegetable bars that have a firm smooth feel and are not tacky or oily to the touch after 24 hours. I also like the soap to be more opaque and not translucent in coloring and it seems that soaps that are lower in olive, palm and coconut and higher in shortening and more unsaturated vegetable oils have that texture that I don't prefer. They can harden up quite nicely and make fine soap...we all have our little preferences!

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This version of "Canolive" has a higher percentage of coconut oil for more lathering and makes a nice hard, smooth bar. It can be poured at a lighter trace and be okay. It received a "thumbs-up" from Sherry Wersing:

I must tell you, you really hit a winner big time with the CANOLIVE II (SEQUEL). I love it. I made it in a very small batch to test, then made a double batch (that would be only 1/2 your recipe still!) that fit perfectly in that size Rubbermaid drawer organizer! I am compelled to write to you to tell you how great that soap is (I'm anxious to see it in use...see, without palm oil I hope it can stay hard). If you put in molds, I did a couple, it is so shiny, like a big shiny white chocolate bar! But not shiny in the box type molds. I am going to make more of those soaps. I love them. And I can make them without ordering palm oil.

Canolive II (The Sequel)


36 ounces canola oil (or you may substitute sweet almond, corn, peanut oil, or any blend of those oils if you'd like)

36 ounces olive oil
16 ounces coconut oil
24 ounces cold water
12 ounces lye crystals

Temperatures: 90-100 degrees


This soap has a very nice texture after 24 hours (cutting stage). I used the stick blender, so don't know how it will be with hand stirring. If you are not comfortable with the low water content, you could bump it up to 28 or 32 ounces, but I like the firmer bars that don't take as long to harden up.

[Canolive II... Orange-Eucalyptus]

This was the second Orange-Eucalyptus Combination
using pulverized orange peel, orange, eucalyptus and
citronella oils. If you don't want the citronella smell
you can leave it out, but it holds better than orange.
Original version is on the Castile Soaps page.

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Here's the last one with even MORE coconut oil! :-) (I found a local source for coconut oil that makes it cheaper than olive, so I've been using more of it lately to see how the end result compares.)

"Cocanolive" Soap (Kathy Miller)

*37 ounces canola oil
24 ounces coconut oil
26 ounces olive oil
28 ounces cold water
12 ounces lye crystals

Temperatures: 110-120 degrees

When I combined the lye solution with the fats, this got a bit grainy looking at the start, so I turned the burner onto low for a minute while I mixed with the stick blender until it smoothed out (I mix my soap in the bottom of my stainless steel spaghetti cooker). Was fine after that. Don't know if I should raise the temperatures any more than this or not...I had actually started around 100 degrees when that happened.

*I had some feedback that this recipe was lye heavy so rechecked the numbers and went back to the original SAP number for canola. The recipe has been adjusted from the original to include 3 more ounces of canola oil (37). My test batch turned out fine, but I thought I should be conservative since a couple of folks had problems.I never had trouble on the previous recipe either and have not had bad feedbaack and lots of thumbs up... same sap number for canola as the original on this one... not sure why the difference. The problem they experienced could have been from the fragrance oil used.The original figure for the canola on this recipe was 34 ounces.

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Are you getting the idea yet? You can put together any combination of oils you like and vary them according to what you have on hand and what properties you want in your finished bar. This recipe produces nice texture and rich creamy lather...the cleansing kind. The higher the coconut percentage, the more suds and cleansing...this one leaves you with a little "squeak" but not dry. Nice for stick blending...doesn't become thick too quickly.

*Soybean with Coconut and Olive (Kathy Miller)

44 ounces soybean oil
25 ounces coconut oil
16 ounces olive oil
24 ounces cold water
12 oz. lye crystals

Here's what the second variation on "Almond Joy" looked like, using the recipe above. This soap doesn't have quite as hard a finish as the first version, but the extra coconut ensures a lot of lather. This has a higher percentage (around 29%) of coconut. I wouldn't go any higher than that in a recipe. These bars were three days young when captured on my scanner! I wish the top looked as finely grained as the edges.


Soy, Coconut and Olive Soap - Swirled
As much as I loved the texture of the bars of Favorite Castile after cutting, they don't have the nice suds that the Almond Joy batch had spoiled me. As mild as olive oil soaps are, the sudsing is less and tends to feel a little slimy (which doesn't bother some people). Anyway...I did this recipe and upped the coconut and used more soy instead of quite so much olive, while still retaining some olive for its wonderful properties. For the batch shown above, I did the chocolate swirl idea again (like "Almond Joy") but instead of powdered cocoa, I melted 1.5 ounces of Ghirardelli's dark chocolate (one of my Christmas presents) with a couple of teaspoons of the original fats and mixed it into a small percentage of the soap after pouring most of it into the mold. The 2 ounces of Bitter Almond FO were added to the whole batch at thin trace and just before pouring the white part into the mold. This soap was thinner when I poured it, because I didn't want to have the ridged effect like the first one and it made me nervous, but the soap set up just great and the swirls really blended with no tendency to separate between colors.

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This batch was a variation on the one above, but I cut back on the soybean oil and added avocado oil. It should make a very nice soap, but drives up the cost considerably. The scent is wonderful! Nice for stick blending...doesn't become thick too quickly.

Mint Swirl with Avocado Oil (Kathy Miller)

37 ounces soybean oil
24 ounces coconut oil
16 ounces olive oil
8 ounces avocado oil
12 ounces lye crystals
24 ounces cold water
Temperatures between 90 and 100 degrees.
Add at light trace:
1 oz. spearmint essential oil (2 T.)
1/2 oz. peppermint essential oil (1 T.)
1/4 oz. eucalyptus essential oil (1/2 T.)

(This smells great and can be used with any recipe!)

[Mint Swirl Soaps]

Mint Swirl Soaps

I just bought my peppermint and eucalyptus oils in the pharmacy section of a local market...pretty reasonable there compared to local sources of EOs like the health food store. If you mail order from a place like A Garden Eastward, you can probably beat these. After mixing in the essential oils at light trace and while the soap is thickening, but still rather pourable pour most of the soap into your large mold (this recipe didn't trace overly quick with the stick blender like some have). Leave about 1/8 or 1/10th of it in the pan.

To this, I added these, which were being kept warm and melted in a small measuring cup on the stove:

1/2 blue/green Crayola crayon
1/2 forest green Crayola crayon
A little bit of the original oils

Mix the coloring in thoroughly and well (I got a few bubbles in the soap while doing this with the blender) and drizzle this soap over the white soap in the mold, distributing it evenly over the top in back and forth motions. Then, take your spatula or a knife and run it back and forth through the soap, first one direction and then either in an opposite direction or on a diagonal. Try to reach the bottom and sides of your mold while doing this.

Note: This soap turned out really nice except for one problem I had. There developed a thin layer of discoloration on the top, sides and bottom. It was kind of tan and I trimmed it off while cutting the bars. I don't know what caused this and would like to hear from you if you try this recipe. Did you have a similar problem? Could it be the avocado oil reacting to something or maybe some other environmental thing? If you have any feedback, email me.

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You can use any fragrance combination you'd like with this...I'm just running out of generic soap recipe names!

Sweet Grass and Clary Sage Soap (Kathy Miller)

24 ounces coconut oil
24 ounces canola oil (can use peanut, corn or sweet almond oil)
36 ounces soybean oil
24 ounces cold water
12 ounces lye crystals

Temperatures: 110-120 degrees

Added at light trace:

1 ounce Sweet Grass FO from Sweet Cakes
1 ounce Clary Sage Essential Oil

[Sweet Grass and Clary Soaps]

This needed a little bottom heat like the Cocanolive batch so I raised the temperatures here. After adding the fragrance and essential oils, I stirred a bit longer and then poured most of the soap. To the remainder, I added a few shavings of teal green candle color that had been melted with a little bit of coconut oil. This was mixed in quickly and the green soap poured on top of the uncolored. I had intended to swirl it, but the soap got too thick on me and try as I might, this was as much swirl as I could get! It's actually kind of interesting the way it turned out. If you want to recreate this look, you just have to let the soap get to the soft pudding stage before adding the second color and it will refuse to drop down and swirl with the rest of the soap in the pan! This is a little heavier on Clary smell at this point than Sweet Grass. You could probably up the Sweet Grass by another half an ounce, or drop the Clary to 1/2 an ounce. They seem fairly strong and I wouldn't add more than that for my nose...but you might like POWERFUL smelling soap or need it to last for a long time in storage.

[Labeled Soaps]




This is to give you an idea of what a difference a label can make in how your soap looks. These are not perfect bars, but they are really set off by the label. If you are planning to go into a soap selling business, packaging can really make a difference in sales. I'm sure many of you will come up with labels that are nicer than these...but they give you the idea.

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All-Vegetable Blend (Kathy Miller)

26 oz. soybean oil
20 oz. each canola, coconut, and olive oil (total of 60 oz.)
12 oz. lye crystals
24-26 oz. cold water
Temps 100-110 degrees

Have had a couple of nice batches using this blend. I've noticed with warmer weather that bars of soap with lots of olive or soybean seem more prone to weeping glycerin. In this recipe, I added a bit of canola since it is lower in the conditioning oils and also gives the bar a nice sheen and texture.

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"Here is my recipe. I did NOT name this soap. This was named by a group of people that loved it!" - Sherry Wersing

Sherry's Fantastic Soap ( Contributed by Sherry Wersing, who wrote the poem at the top of the "Soapy Success" page)

24 oz canola
18 oz coconut oil
6 oz cocoa butter
6 oz castor oil
16 oz olive oil (pomace or pomace/olive blend is fine)
9.8 oz lye
21-23 oz water
Fragrance Oil or Essential Oil of choice

Temps: Water/Lye 105-110 degrees / Oils 110-115 degrees

This recipe has often been requested on the Latherings Forum and the feedback from folks who've made it has been great! Sherry has agreed to share it here for anyone who would like to make it. It will not be as large a batch as the rest posted on this site, so adjust for fewer bars/smaller mold. See "Shaving Bar" variation below...

To make a GREAT shaving bar, WHICH BY THE WAY makes a GREAT SHAMPOO BAR! (my hair only stays after being blown dry by THIS bar! Perhaps it is the microcrystalline wax, I do not know. But the next day, after sleeping on it, my hair brushes back into place! NEVER did that before with ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!


I make the above recipe, except that instead of using 6 oz of cocoa butter, I use 2.5 ounces of cocoa butter and add a 3.5 oz tub of PALMER'S COCOA BUTTER FORMULA (it is NOT a cream or lotion, rather hard in a plastic tub..) The ingredients of it are cocoa butter, mineral oil, microcrystalline wax, fractionated cocoa butter and vitamins C and E. I infused calendula petals in the olive oil, but this is just an option. Makes a thick lathering soap, and funny, but a great shampoo bar!


Sherry's Fantastic Soap - LARGER Batch

I've had a request to post a larger version of this recipe so that it will be the same size as the other recipes on the site (for people who have molds to accomodate that size). The following is pretty close to the same percentages as Sherry's original, with minor variations for the sake of simplifying the numbers.

28 oz. canola oil
22 oz. coconut oil
7 oz. cocoa butter
7 oz. castor oil
20 oz. olive oil
12 oz. lye crystals
26 - 28 oz. cold water
Fragrance Oil or Essential Oil of choice
Temps: Water/Lye 105-110 degrees / Oils 110-115 degrees


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I haven't tried this myself, but here's a recipe from a fellow soaper...

Acne/Oily Skin Soap (Contributed by Lisa Thomas)

I wanted a bar of soap that would help with a friend's acne/oily prone skin & I had read that witch hazel, Tea Tree oil and some other botanicals would be good for his skin. So I set out to make some, just to experiment. I began by taking common cooking canola oil. and adding the herbs; red clover, chamomile,slippery elm, peppermint and comfrey leaves and gently heating them on the stove on low heat for about 2 hours. (For the amount of oil, I usually use about 2 Tablespoons of each herb. Also, someone wrote because she found that after heating and soaking the herbs it "smelled and looked funny"; she was worried it was burnt and unusable. So, just as a pre-warning, it WILL smell kind of odd due to the combined herb smell.The tea tree oil will more than cover up this smell for you.It also should look light brown to a greenish color. As long as it.doesn't smell burnt, and the oil isn't blackish brown it is fine.) I strained, and set this aside.

9 oz. lye crystals (9.02 oz to be exact), dissolved into:
15 oz. of cold water and 10 oz. of chilled Witch Hazel (mixture turned a yellowish color after adding lye)
15 oz. infused canola oil (above)
15 oz. coconut oil
8 oz. olive oil
24 oz. soybean oil
1 oz. stearic acid
3 oz. of beeswax. (just stuff I had laying around :)

I heated all the oils together until the beeswax and stearic acid melted and then set aside to cool.

I am afraid I am not the type of soapmaker who measures the temperature of the lye/oils before she mixes. I just feel the side of both containers until they still feel warm, but not hot to the touch. I KNOW this is not exact- but I honestly have never ever had a failed batch (knock on wood) yet.

So I added the lye to the oils ... it traced very very fast. I started with hand blending for 2-3 minutes, then stick blended for 2-3 min. At this stage it was fairly thick - like heavy pudding. I added:

1 oz. Tea Tree oil
1 tsp each of Lavender & Peppermint oils.

I then hand blended for another 2-3 minutes. At this point I was beginning to think this would be my first unsucessful batch. It was way to thick to pour out of the pan so I had to spoon/scoop it into the molds. (It was a wonderful yellowish color- looked like the bars of Neutrogena you buy.) I went ahead and decided to put them into the molds to see what would happen. I put half into the Milky Way pattern molds, and half into a box mold that would need to be cut later into bars. I was working in my basement which was a stable 65 degrees. I didn't insulate any of the molds- I just shut the light off and went to bed.I was sure the next day I would find a big mess down there but boy was I in for a pleasant surprise! The next morning I checked them and they were hard enough already to unmold, and cut. They looked great! I cured them for 3 weeks only, they had little to no ash formed on the edges. [I would still suggest four weeks cure time to be safe. The beeswax could be cut by half and still make a nice bar. Not insulating is probably not a bad idea with beeswax in the mix... any traces of honey will heat up the soap quickly... somtimes too much. - Kathy]

Let me tell you - these bars are the best soap I have made to date. Both the pattern molds and the cut bars held up equally well. The bar hade a wonderful yellow color- looking alot like a bar of beeswax. They smelled slightly medicinal but not too heavy. I think the lavender lightens the scent some ( I added this due to reading it had a antibacterial/antibiotic property in an herb book I have). I have made this recipe 4 times now- each with equal sucess, and this is a best selling bar for me. My friend loved it so much, he bought 30 bars for himself and a bunch of his friends. It helps "cut" oily prone skin but leaves your skin very very soft. He swears that in combination with my witch hazel/mint/vinegar toner (recipe below for those who have asked)- his acne problem is gone!

I hope more people will read this experience and realize that they CAN make their own recipes.

-Lisa Thomas


Mint-Vinegar Toner for Oily Skin (Lisa Thomas)

1 tablespoon dried mint or 3 T. of fresh
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (must be the apple!)
1 cup witch hazel

Mix all ingred. together stir thoroughly and allow to sit covered for 3 days. Strain or filter out the mint (HINT  if you use tea bags- 2 of them, then you don't need to strain!). Pour into a clean container with a lid, apply with cotton ball as needed.

I have found that this is excellent for my oily skin. Sometimes if I get a little dry, like in the winter, I add a teaspoon of honey in the mix to use at night. It helps add moisture to the skin as well as combats acne, and clears up the red spots from old acne areas.


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Recipes Using Palm Oil

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This is the first of the batches I made in a soapmaking marathon at the end of November '98. Nice soap...great fragrance! Some of the ingredients in this one might not be as simple to come by.

Pumpkin Spice (Kathy Miller)

2 ounces beeswax
28 oz. palm oil
14 oz. coconut oil
8 ounces grape seed oil (because I had it and needed to use it up!)
24 oz. olive oil
12 oz. shortening (because I ran out of olive! :-)
32 oz. cold water (4 cups)
12 oz. can lye crystals (Lewis)

[Pumpkin Spice Soap]

This first batch of pumpkin spice has a slight case of "alien brain soap syndrome"! I think it's caused by too much insulation when the soap is in gel stage... there is such a thing as too much!

Add at trace:

1 oz. castor oil
2 ounces Pumpkin Spice fragrance oil (Sweet Cakes)
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

I didn't write down the temperatures for fats and lye, but think they were between 95 and 100 degrees. It speeds things up to wait and add the olive oil after you've melted the harder fats and beeswax over the stove. It cools it down more quickly.

This soap got nice and thick rather quickly because I used the stick blender. I had to smooth it with a spoon and there were a few furrows on the top. By morning, the top of the soap had puckered and shrunk and my son said it looked like a brain! I decided to leave the top as it was for an interesting texture and not waste the soap trying to shave it off. It's nice and firm with good texture.

* If you'd like to make this recipe in a more simplified version, try this:

15 oz. coconut oil
24 oz. olive oil (or canola is fine)
24 oz. palm oil
24 oz. soybean oil
12 oz. lye crystals
32 oz. cold water

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This one is really yummy and lathers extremely well! I didn't mark it with an asterisk because of the palm and cocoa butter which you might have to special order.

"Almond Joy" / Chocolate Almond Swirl (Kathy Miller)

16 oz. palm oil
14 oz. coconut oil
52 oz. olive oil
6 ounces cocoa butter
32 oz. cold water (4 cups)
12 oz. lye crystals

[Almond Joy Soap]

The actual soap was not quite this "white". Flash
photography and scanning affected the final image.

Add at trace:

1 ounce Bitter Almond fragrance oil (Sweet Cakes)
2-3 T. cocoa powder blended into about 1/4 of the soap at trace (after pouring 3/4 of it into mold)

Temperature: 95-100 degrees

Instructions as usual. Add the Bitter Almond oil at early trace and pour 3/4 of the soap into the mold/s. Mix the cocoa powder quickly into the remaining soap (stick blender makes this easy) and drizzle it over the top of the white soap in a back and forth fashion. Take a butter knife and gently run it back and forth to gently swirl the two colors together (you decide when it looks pretty enough to stop). A note on adding the cocoa. You could probably blend the powder with a small amount of the soap before stirring it into the rest. When I did it, I added some olive oil to the cocoa, but had some oil ooze out of the darker soap after it set overnight, so think it was too much.

This soap was a bit ridged on top where it was swirled as it got thick, but I left that on also. It looks kind of neat and really smells strong! If you pour your soap at light trace, this probably won't happen. I put in more Bitter Almond than I listed in the ingredients above and it was a little too much for my tastes, but will last longer. One ounce should be okay. The soap is very hard, cleansing, and lathers well. People who are into almond and chocolate really get excited over these bars! :-)

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This is a wonderful recipe for the stick blender and the texture at pour and after cutting is GREAT! The almond oil can be replaced by other oils with a similar sap value, which is what I did in the recipe after this one. I renamed it back to "Peachy" because that's how I feel about the recipe, whether it's peach scented or not! I keep using this over and over.

*"Peachy" with Almond Oil (Kathy Miller)

32 oz. soybean oil
16 oz. palm oil
16 oz. olive oil
14 oz. coconut oil (2 T. of this was corn popping coconut treated with beta carotene...for color)
8.5 oz. almond oil (that's how it was bottled)
28 oz. cold water
12 oz. lye crystals
Temps around 90-110 degrees

[Peach with Almond Soaps]

Added at light trace:

2 oz. Peach FO from Sweet Cakes (I like the Peach Deluxe FO better...will get that one next time)
Optional: 1 tsp. Bitter Almond FO
1 T. paprika (for color)

Now that I have some more palm oil, I'll be experimenting with using it in more recipes. The expense of ordering it is similar to my cost of buying olive oil at our local Costco store, so I don't mind using it.. keeping that in mind. I prefer to use it in lesser quantities though...a pound in a batch can make quite an impact on the finished bar. The soybean in this recipe cuts down on the expense and it offers emollient qualities and stable lathering. It would not make a good bar of soap if used by itself, but is very nice in combination with more saturated fats. It's also very easily and inexpensively bought in the U.S. If you live in another country, you may want to find some other common oil with a similar sap value to replace it.


Some more soaps made with the "Peachy" recipe:

[Bay Rum Soap with Beeswax]

Bay Rum with Beeswax

This soap had two ounces of beeswax (colored with a honey smell) added to the base oils and 2 ounces of Bay Rum FO from Sweet Cakes. It's wonderful in texture and scent!

[Apricot-Freesia Soap]


The base oils included 1/4 cup corn popping coconut for color and part of the soap was swirled after adding about 1 1/2 tsp. paprika. The scent was 2 ounces of Apricot-Freesia FO from Sweet Cakes.

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This slight variation of the "Peachy" recipe above, has a softer finish to the bars so far. Think it's the added sugar. Think I will leave it out next time.

*"Purely Herbal" with Jojoba Oil (Kathy Miller)

24 oz. cold water
12 oz. lye crystals
1 T. sugar (for lathering... Dissolve in hot water first!)
34 oz. soybean oil
24 oz. olive oil
16 oz. palm oil
14 oz. coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp. shaved cerise wax candle color (melted with base oils) Temps: 100-110 degrees

Added at light trace:

1 1/2 tsp. paprika (for color)
2 oz. jojoba oil
2 oz. "Purely Herbal" FO (Smells like Herbal Essence) from Sweet Cakes (or whatever you want!)

[Herbal Soaps with Jojoba Oil]

The sugar added to the soap gives the finished bar a more translucent quality, making the color darker than when sugar is not added. I LOVE this basic is a joy to mix with the stick blender and doesn't suddenly set up on you as a general rule (depending on what you add at trace). The Purely Herbal FO has quite a fruity smell...almost reminded me of when I'm peeling and coring lots of apples for canning. If you use some other scent, you might not want the color I chose. You can add anything you want to any of the base recipes on the page, within reason!

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This is a variation of the "Chocolate Mint" soap on the animal fats recipe page. I have not actually done this version yet, but it should be very nice and I wanted to post it for those of you who may want to do it without any animal fats. I love the other one! If you tailor ANY recipe and use 8 oz. of cocoa butter in it, you'll get the wonderful traits of cocoa butter in your finished soap. Just be sure that if you include that much in a recipe that already has a high percentage of saturated fats in it, that you use the amount of water usually suggested on the MMS lye calculator. Cocoa Butter makes a HARD bar! Skimping on water for a high saturated fat recipe makes the bars very difficult to cut! :-)

White Chocolate (Kathy Miller)

40 ounces soybean oil
16 ounces olive oil
16 ounces coconut oil
8 ounces palm oil
8 ounces cocoa butter (food grade...the GOOD smelling stuff!)
28-32 ounces cold water
12 ounces lye crystals
1 oz. fragrance or essential oil if desired at trace, such as peppermint, almond, or non-discoloring vanilla if you'd like. If you use regular vanilla or chocolate fragrance oil, it will turn the soap brown...which is fine. It just won't be "white" chocolate anymore!
Temps 100-110 degrees

If you use good smelling cocoa butter, this will smell nice on its own, even without added fragrance oil. The cocoa butter gives the lather a really nice creamy feel and it's SO gentle on the skin. Since cocoa butter costs more than the other ingredients, this is kind of a luxury soap at my house!

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The Canolive II recipe is excellent for molding and makes a nice smooth firm bar, so I tried this version using a bit of palm oil.

Canolive III (Kathy Miller)

36 ounces canola oil
36 ounces olive oil
10 ounces coconut oil
8 ounces palm oil
26 ounces cold water
12 ounces lye crystals

For this batch I added at trace:

glycerin...probably about 1-2 ounces
1.5 oz. lavender and lavandin essential oils (think I would prefer all lavender next time...a bit softer... and since I first did this, I would now mix the EOs with some Lavender Flowers FO from Majestic Mountain Sage... it has lasting power where the EOs die over time.)
purple candle dye shavings melted in with base oils
Temps 100-110 degrees

[Lavender Soaps]

This makes a nice hard bar of soap with a silky feel contributed by the canola oil. The palm adds to the hardness and lather of soap.
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As of August 1999, this is my favorite all vegetable recipe that uses palm (although I like the Favorite Castile II really well, it is more prone to melt in the dish if exposed to too much dampness). This makes a sleek and hard bar with great lather while still being mild. If you use canola instead of soybean, the bar will have a glossier and harder finish. Both make nice soap.


Sudsy All-Vegetable (Kathy Miller)

24 ounces coconut oil
24 ounces olive oil
18-20 ounces soybean or canola oil (18 will yield a slightly harder finish)
16 ounces palm oil
24-26 ounces cold water
12 ounces lye crystals
Temps 100-120 degrees (varies according to what you use for fragrance... some fragrance oils work at higher temps)

The bar at right was scented with 2 oz. of the King's Ransom EO blend from A Garden Eastward and swirled.

[King's Ransom EO Soap]

This was the first batch I did with the Sudsy All-Vegetable Recipe.

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November, 2001... this is the latest recipe I've been making for sales. Some people don't like to read "canola" on the label or think it might be more prone to weeping in storage (I've not had too much trouble in our moderate climate). I decided to post this as another option for those who don't mind purchasing coconut and palm oil.


Soap Classic (Kathy Miller) This is my current favorite!

39 oz. olive oil (For harder soap substitute 2 oz. of cocoa butter for 2 oz. of the olive)
24 oz. coconut oil
18 oz. palm oil
26-30 oz. cold water (lower for essential oils, higher for troublesome fragrance oils)
12 oz. lye crystals
Temperature around 100 to110 degrees.

This is the latest recipe I've been making. Some people think canola can be problematic for weeping in storage, so I'm using this classic combination of olive, coconut and palm. I've tweaked this from the original and cut back a little on the olive oil... I think it stores better.

[Mango Mélange Soap]

Mango Mélange... a confetti type soap.



Recipes Using Palm Kernel Oil

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I finally got some palm kernel to play with in the Summer of 2000. This is the first recipe I've used and like it very much. This and the "Sudsy All Vegetable" are the ones I used most for sales. They are harder and last longer in the dish (this one is a bit firmer and has a few more suds). I thought this recipe might be better for molding, but haven't tried that myself. If that's your aim, I'd use the olive instead of the soybean. Also... olive will make a slightly more conditioning soap.

"Pound" Soap (Kathy Miller)

16 oz. canola oil
16 oz. coconut oil
16 oz. palm oil
16 oz. palm kernel oil
20 oz. soybean or olive oil
24-28 oz. cold water (lower for essential oils, higher for troublesome fragrance oils)
12 oz. lye crystals
Temperature around 110 degrees.

[Piña Colada Soap]

One of the first batches from this recipe was "Piña Colada'. This one substituted about 8 oz. of Macadamia Nut Oil for part of the olive or soybean (Macadamia has a slightly higher SAP value) and was scented with two ounces each of coconut and pineapple fragrance oil. The yellow bits are a few calendula petals tossed in for color.

I like to measure out the first four oils (one pound of each) and melt until clear. Then pull it off and add the 20 oz. of olive (or soybean is fine) oil. This helps to cool it down to 110 degrees quicker than putting them all in at the front.

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I made two revisions of the favorite Sudsy-All Vegetable recipe which incorporated palm kernel oil, which makes a harder bar with stronger cleansing/lather. I think I like the first one best... but they are just slightly different.

Sudsy All-Vegetable Soap with Palm Kernel (Kathy Miller) NEW!

20 oz. coconut oil
16 oz. palm oil
16 oz. canola oil
8 oz. palm kernel oil
24 oz. olive oil
24-28 oz. cold water (lower for essential oils, higher for troublesome fragrance oils)
12 oz. lye crystals
Temperature around 110 degrees.

[Stress Relief Soap]

This was a batch of "Stress Relief" blend (spearmint, peppermint, corn mint and some anise) that used chromium oxide green for the swirling color.

I like to measure out the first four oils (one pound of each) and melt until clear. Then pull it off and add the 24 oz. of olive oil. This helps to cool it down to 110 degrees quicker than putting them all in at the front.

Sudsy All-Vegetable Soap with Palm Kernel #2 (Kathy Miller)

16 oz. coconut oil
16 oz. palm oil
16 oz. canola oil
10 oz. palm kernel oil
26 oz. olive oil
24-28 oz. cold water (lower for essential oils, higher for troublesome fragrance oils)
12 oz. lye crystals
Temperature around 110 degrees.

[Frank & Myrrh Soap]

This batch was scented with Frankincense and Myrrh fragrance oil for the holidays. It turns the soap a tan shade. I think it would have smelled even better with a touch of vanilla FO (not my idea, but from Jim Adlhoch).

This makes a hard soap with lots of lather, but very mild. Note that this recipe is slightly larger than the ones that I usually post and uses nearly 14 oz. of lye.

Double Bubble! (Mona from the Latherings Forum)

30 oz. coconut oil
20 oz. palm oil
10 oz. palm kernel oil
26 oz. olive oil
10 oz. canola oil
32-34 oz. of cold water
13.78 lye (7% lye discount)

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Design Your Own Recipe! - Has been moved to its own page so that you can print it on its own for reference. This includes updated saponification tables and "Properties of Oils" charts. Also included are some ideas for coloring and scent blending.



Do you still have questions?

For more information on where to find other good soapmaking sites, ingredients and equipment, more recipes and information...go to my Soapmaking Links Page!

To learn more from other people's experiences and suggestions...go to the "Soapy Success" Page.


Here are some good pages with other recipes to try (soap and cosmetics, which I don't make much):

This page last updated on 20 July 2009.
Header Graphic: Courtesy of Print Artist 4.0 Platinum

If you still have questions, please read through the information on the Troubleshooting Help page, MOST Frequently Asked Questions and Modern Procedures. More can also be learned through the Botched Batches and Soapy Success pages. Many common problems have already been addressed on the site and it's difficult for me to keep up with emails these days and get anything else done. If your question involves my looking up information that you can also research, or going over numbers and recipe calculations, I might not respond if in the middle of a project around our home and garden. I apologize for this, since I've enjoyed my correspondence with people and don't like to ignore emails of any kind. Thanks! :-)